Skip to Content

How To Propagate Ric Rac Cactus – 3 Methods Guide

Sharing is caring!

The Ric Rac cactus is found in Mexico’s rainforests. It is an epiphyte, which means it may grow on a ‘host’ plant, usually a tree, where it can secure its roots in the nooks and crevices of the branches.

Their natural environment is warm, humid, and shielded from direct sunlight; we can replicate these circumstances in our homes to help them thrive.

Look no further than the Fishbone Cactus (also known as Ric Rac Cactus, Zig Zag Cactus) for an interesting houseplant! It’s a visually stunning houseplant that’s also quite easy to care for! This article will explain How To Propagate Ric Rac Cactus in detail.

The names refer to the leaves’ alternating arrangement along a central spine that mimics the skeleton of a fish. This magnificent plant is an epiphytic species that may thrive in low-soil environments with the help of various organic media.

Even the so-called “black thumb” gardener can grow fishbone cactus. Grow a fishbone cactus houseplant and marvel at its bizarre zigzag pattern of succulent foliage.

The Fishbone Cactus is extremely resilient to most common cactus pests and diseases, making them a perfect choice for new horticultural hobbyists.

How To Propagate Ric Rac Cactus
Propagate Ric Rac Cactus via Reddit

Steps on How To Propagate Ric Rac Cactus by Cuttings

Spring to late summer is the best time to take cuttings. For the highest likelihood of success, look for healthy growth. Even thin and wrinkled cuttings can be water propagated successfully.

So, if you have any cuttings leftover from pruning, consider propagating them. Let’s discuss How To Propagate Ric Rac Cactus Cuttings.

1. Propagating Cuttings in Water

  • Take a portion of the healthy mother plant and cut it off.
  • One full leaf stem can be propagated, or one long stem can be divided into shorter portions and propagated separately.
  • Remove the leaves from the bottom 3-4 inches of the stem.
  • Make a mental note of which side of each part is up, so don’t plant them sideways.
  • Allow at least a few days for the cut surface to form a callus before proceeding.
  • Place your fishbone cuttings in a small vessel filled with room-temperature water.
  • The container does not have to be full; it only has to reach the bottom of the cutting.
  • Put the jar in bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Replace the water when the water becomes dirty.
  • You can place the cutting into the potting mix once the roots are a few inches long.
  • Please give it a good watering and treat it like any other plant.

2. Propagating Cuttings in Potting Mix/Soil

Alternatively, you might skip the water rooting stage and plant the cutting straight into the soil, callused end down. Blend a fast-draining cactus soil with perlite or peat moss to make it particularly airy.

  • Cut one of the stems with a pair of clean, sharp scissors.
  • Allow the cutting to dry out and produce a callus for a few days.
  • Before planting, dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder.
  • Plant the clipping in a potting mix-filled pot.
  • As the roots grow, keep the potting mix damp but not soggy.
  • Place the pot in a light that is bright but not direct.
  • If your cutting is small enough, you can cover it with a clear plastic bag to keep the humidity in.
  • Remove it every few days or so to allow fresh air to circulate.
  • Don’t worry if your cutting is too large for this.
  • After a few weeks, gently tug on your cutting to see any resistance.
  • If you notice some resistance, it implies your cutting has established a root system, and you may start treating it like a normal plant.

3. Steps on How To Propagate Ric Rac Cactus by Division

The division is one of the simplest and quickest ways to propagate the fishbone cactus. This procedure is frequently used when the plant is being repotted.

You can divide your plant in two ways.

  1. The first method is to make a clean cut right through the middle of the leaves, soil, and roots using a sharp knife.
  2. The alternative option is to gently separate the roots and foliage of your fishbone plant with your hands. Be gentle so that as few roots as possible are harmed.
  • Divide the main plant from one or more portions of the cactus that have their root systems.
  • Gently separate the roots, taking care to keep the majority of them intact.
  • If any roots need to be cut away from each other, use a clean, sharp knife.
  • Remove any dead or dry stems that may exist.
  • Remove as much of the old soil as possible without injuring the roots.
  • Then, pot each plant into its pot and care for it as you normally would.
  • You may have to handle the cactus stems a little more using this procedure, so proceed with caution because this cactus has little thorns.
  • Please wait until you see evidence of growth before watering your cutting after it’s in the soil.
  • When it begins to grow, it indicates that your cutting has developed roots.
  • Your cutting will most likely rot if you water it before it has roots.
  • It may take a few weeks for the cuttings to start rooting, but you can transplant them into their pots once they do.

How to Care for Ric Rac Cactus Plant

The Ric Rac Cactus plant is a low-maintenance succulent without requiring much attention.

  • Over-watering and fertilizing this type of cactus can be harmful.
  • A general guideline for watering is to allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. It would be best to water more frequently during the summer than during the winter.
  • Fertilize your Ric Rac cactus plant only once a year in the springtime with a succulent-specific fertilizer.
  • Place your cactus in a bright area but avoid direct sunlight.
  • They like higher humidity because they’re from the jungle, but they’ll also do fine in standard household humidity.
  • Normal household temperatures will suffice but keep them away from cold window sills and dry vents, whether heated or cooled.
  • You can prune your cactus to keep its size and shape under control. Cut a stem back to its root with a pair of clean, sharp scissors.
  • Every year repot your fishbone cactus. They prefer to be tethered to the ground. Use a pot that is one size larger than the existing one and has sufficient drainage.
  • It’s perfectly normal to see aerial roots on your fishbone cactus. Worst case scenario, it could indicate that your plant is thirsty and needs to be watered. If the soil is bone dry, make sure to check the potting media and give it a good watering.
  • As long as your potting mix is extremely well-drained, you can use a variety of potting mixes. Combining 2 to 3 parts succulent mix with 1 part perlite or pumice will work well. Instead of perlite or pumice, 1 part of orchid bark can be used. Or a mix of all of the above.

Final Remarks

The Ric Rac cactus, also known as Fishbone cactus, is an easy-to-care-for succulent that makes a great addition to any home. It can easily be propagated either in water or soil. This plant doesn’t require much attention and can be kept in a bright area with indirect sunlight.

In the springtime, you can fertilize your Ric Rac cactus once a year with a succulent-specific fertilizer. You can protect your cactus from potentially cold temperatures by bringing your plant indoors, but only if it is an outside cactus or succulent. Happy propagating!